Helpful receptionists, easy phone bookings, good appointments - Do you agree with patients’ healthcare experiences?

Mark Shenton, chairman of the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Mark Shenton, chairman of the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG Picture: PAGEPIX LTD - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Suffolk patients’ satisfaction with GP services has exceeded national benchmarks despite the growing pressures and recruitment difficulties facing healthcare staff in the county.

Christopher Browning, chairman of the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group Picture: WSCCG

Christopher Browning, chairman of the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group Picture: WSCCG - Credit: WSCCG

The latest NHS England patient survey showed that GP practices in the Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk clinical commissioning group (CCG) areas were performing better that national average.

Patients were asked about the ease of contacting their surgery, the helpfulness of receptionists, confidence in their GP and their satisfaction with the type of appointment they were offered, as well as their “overall experience”.

Both CCGs performed as well or better than the national average across all questions. Patients’ confidence in their was particularly high, at 97% in West Suffolk and 96% in Ipswich and East Suffolk.

Nationally, and locally, the lowest levels of satisfaction concerned experiences of booking appointments. Only 69% of patients in England rated their experience ‘good’ or ‘very good’, The figure was 74% in West Suffolk and 76% in Ipswich and East Suffolk.

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Health leaders in the county have welcomed the positive indication of patient satisfaction, particularly as it comes during a challenging time for primary care services in Suffolk.

Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and Chairman of Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, said: “These results are really pleasing and show that, despite the many challenges facing primary care, GPs and practice staff are delivering high quality services.

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“This annual survey is important as it helps ensure local people have confidence in their GP practice. It’s also a good opportunity to recognise the many dedicated and hardworking NHS staff members who, every day, help people with their physical and mental wellbeing. Healthcare staff including receptionists, nurses and GPs are all rated highly for the level of care and support they provide.”

Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and Chairman of West Suffolk CCG added: “For many people the GP practice is their first point of contact for medical help and advice. Across west Suffolk our GP practice staff work to ensure their patients receive the best level of service as possible, starting from when making an appointment online or by telephone, the welcome they receive when they arrive at the surgery to the care delivered by the GP or nurse.

“While we can all be proud of these results, there’s no denying that we must recognise the continued difficulties we face in the recruitment and retention of staff and the rising demand for primary care services.”

Paul Driscoll, Medical Director of Suffolk GP Federation, said: “Given the well-publicised pressures on Suffolk general practice these results are excellent. They reflect all the hard work our GPs, nurses and practice staff do on a daily basis.”

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